Herbal Remedies for Anxiety: Nervines & Adaptogens

What is Anxiety?

Do you have cyclical thoughts, worries, and fear that won’t subside? Perhaps, your heart is racing, your muscles are tense, and finding a relaxed sense of being simply isn’t happening. Herbal allies for anxiety known as nervines and adaptogens might help. These herbs often relax and calm your nervous system. They are known to strengthen the heart and support resilience within the body when taken as needed for a few days. Herbal remedies are everywhere. We are surrounded by nature’s gifts if we will only look for them. And wild plants are bountiful and available for relaxing the nervous system.

How Easy is it to Become Your Own Healer?

Learning to incorporate herbs into your life is easy and with a little practice you can become your own healer. Making everyday decisions with awareness about your state of wellness will empower you to care for yourself with love and patience.

It’s important to recognize that managing anxiety (or any ailment) typically requires a multi-faceted approach. Embrace an activity every day that brings you joy. What makes your heart sing?

  • Playing with your pet
  • Laughing with a friend
  • Taking a luxurious bath
  • A walk in the woods or on the beach
  • Reading a good book
  • Listening to your favorite music
  • Creating art
  • Yoga
  • Meditation/Prayer

No matter how busy you are, take at least 15 minutes a day to invite joy into your life through your favorite activity.

Diet Plays an Important Role in Managing Anxiety

Did you know certain foods can increase anxiety? Sugar is the main culprit for this. A diet filled with whole food choices is best. Look into eating an anti-inflammatory diet, so when feeling overwhelmed or anxious you’ll be prepared to manage it well.

How do Plants Help?

Plants can teach us to slow down and smell the roses, take deep breaths, appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. When you come into contact with a plant, shrub, or tree, that you adore, you’ll notice an emotional reaction. Is it a beautiful rose bush? How about an apple or pine tree? Is it a delicate flower that only blooms in the spring? When you see this plant, you might observe how it draws you to itself; its color, fragrance, size, and fruit. Each of these might call you close. Does your mind relax, is there joy in your heart, are you filled with appreciation? These are some reactions you might have to your favorite plant.

Plant Teachers

Shamans have a different reaction. They ‘hear’ the song of the plant and sense its spirit. Shamans have been communicating with plants for thousands of years. They are deeply connected to Mother Earth. They recognize plants as teachers and elders. Plants were here on earth before human beings and they have a greater understanding of the ways of Mother Earth. Shamans sit quietly and listen to the teachings of plants. In some cases, the plants will direct shamans to another plant for healing.

I’ve been drawn to various plants on many different occasions. I used to believe it was my own curiosity, but now. I know, the plant was calling to me. It’s like any relationship, you get to know the plant like a friend and are happy to see her/him wherever you are.

What I often say and have experienced firsthand is we don’t have to consume a plant to receive its benefits. Have you ever walked through a botanical garden or park and felt more relaxed and in tune to your surroundings? Then you have experienced the healing power of plants yourself. Plants are generous beings that offer us respite from any storm. We know this intuitively, although it’s difficult to explain with words. We know it with our hearts and  are strengthened to carry on even during the darkest night.

Sitting or walking quietly in nature will heighten your inner knowing. You might suddenly have the answer to that question that’s been bugging you for days. Plants are healers even when they’re nearby.

A Brief List of Herbs that may Help with Anxiety.

Every *body* is different, so it’s a good idea to experiment with just one herb to begin with. Start with a few drops at a time, and then increase drops as needed. Remember, more isn’t always better. Starting with a few drops will teach you to pay attention to your body/mind.

  • Schisandra (adaptogen, anti-inflammatory)
  • Reishi (adaptogen, anti-inflammatory, nervine)
  • Hawthorn (heart health, anti-inflammatory & nervine)
  • Passionflower (anti-spasmodic, sedative nervine)
  • Skullcap (analgesic, nervine)
  • Blue Vervain (anticonvulsant, sedative nervine)
  • Sativa avena, oats (antidepressant, nervine)

Cultivating herbs is ideal, but if you can’t, consuming a tea or tincture is beneficial. Tinctures are convenient and easy to use, but often tea is most beneficial. Sometimes herbs taste… let’s be honest, YUCKY… so in this case, tinctures are often the first choice. Simply add to water or tea and drink.

Another way to connect with a particular plants is to make an oil infusion and/or salve with it. Applying herbs topically also provide benefits because what we put on our skin is absorbed into the blood stream at varying degrees.

Herbal allies surround us. Nature supports us. We need only look carefully at what is growing nearby. Get to know it. As you become familiar with your plant allies, you will learn much from their presence.

I invite you to select one herb from the list above, grow it if you can. Learn as much as you can about it. Consume if you desire. Then, evaluate how its beautiful benefits have enhanced your wellbeing.

Start here and remain curious.

Photo by C.R.Y. Herbals


Disclaimer: The information written in C.R.Y. Herbals’ emails, blog & website, is for creative and educational purposes only. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. All questions regarding any health condition and inclusion of herbs to support your health should be addressed to your primary care physician or other healthcare provider. We are simply ordinary folk who love experimenting and working with natural herbal products to enhance and support the body in health and well-being. It is a joy and honor to explore the historical and contemporary practices of herbalism for the purposes of education and personal fulfillment. ?

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